Thursday, 2 September 2010

Steamed Pasta with Pumpkin and Raisins: Makaruna Imbaukha مكرونة مبوخة

Makaruna Imbaukha originates from East Libya, but is known throughout the country. A more time-consuming version is rishda imbaukha which calls for home-made pasta known as rishda. Steamed pasta is the basis of this dish, but the secret is a rich onion and chickpea sauce with the consistency of stew and more than a hint of sweetness from the pumkin and raisins.

Serve with Mseyer pickles .

Serves 6
1/2 kilo  lamb meat
500g capellini pasta
3 tablespoons samn (clarified butter)/ or 1/2 cup corn oil.
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 finely chopped medium onion
1 finely chopped tomato
1 cup chickpeas (soaked over night and parboiled, or use canned)
3 medium size onions cut into wings
1cup sultanas or raisins 
2 medium potatoes halved
250g pumpkin cut to large cubes
1 tsp black pepper
5 whole cloves
4 bay leaves
A few shaiba leaves (known as dagad phool in Indian cuisine)
1 teaspoon grated ginger root/ ground ginger

final touch:  
2 tablespoon orange flower water (optional)
1 tablespoon cinnamon, 1/2 tablespoon ground ginger
2 tablebspoons samn (clarified butter)/ or butter


Ideally steamed dishes or Imbawakh (an important category in Libyan cuisine) should be cooked in a kaskas, but any pot with a fitted steamer is fine, especially for steamed rice and pasta.

Start by cooking the meat in the pot under the steamer. Brown the meat in oil or samn (clarified butter) add ground shaiba leaves, then add the chopped onion, chopped tomato, tomato paste, rest of the spices stir, then add about a 1 liter of water bring to boil. Once steam rises from the pot begin steaming the pasta over it while the meat cooks.

Mix oil and water in a small bowl.

This will be used to wet the pasta before steaming.

Take a nest of angel hair pasta, dip it quickly in the water and oil, shake off the excess water and place in the steamer above the pot.


Work angel hair pasta nest loose with your fingers as you drop the into the steamer

Let the pasta steam for 45 minutes, then take down steamer insert

Put the pasta in deep plate. Using a ladle, scoop up the gleaming top layer of the meat broth from the bottom pot, pour over the pasta and mix.  (about  4-5 ladles).

Return pasta to steamer. Add onion wings, chickpeas and potatoes to the pot below the steamer  Put the steamer back on the pot, and leave to steam for a further 30 minutes.

You may need to add some water to the meat broth. Add the pumpkin and sultanas/raisins, then cook for a further 15 minutes.

When the pasta is cooked, return it to the deep plate. Sprinkle with orange flower water, mix and sprinkle with cinnamon and ginger. Heat saman or butter (to smoking point) pour immediately over spices then mix. Spread the pasta in a large flat serving platter and spoon the onion, chickpeas, and sultanas sauce generously over it, and arrange potatoes, pumpkin, and meat on top.


  1. Hi, id just like to ask why it repeats 'add onion' twice. I'm a bit confused as i thought u put the onion wings at the start, but then later in the recipe it says 'add the onion wings and the chickpeas', please explain! Also, should you put a lid over the steamer, or let the steam come off ? Thanksss

  2. @hnouria

    1- Thanks for pointing out the onion mistake so we could fix it. The chopped onion used at the start of the recipe was missing from the ingredients list, which caused the confusion with the onion wings to be cooked later with chickpeas.

    2-For the steamer the lid needs to be off as you definately dont want the water to condense!

  3. this is what i'm going to do tomorrow and the bread filled with tuna and harissa and olives.. really good food and great recipes. Ramadan kareem to everyone

  4. Ramadan Karim! Hope both recipes worked out for you Deborah :)

  5. وين رشدة الكسكاس والكسكسي